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Hotel California trade mark dispute

Written by Dimitra Angelopoulou on 04 May 2017

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‘Hotel California‘, perhaps one of the most famous songs in the history of rock music, this song has come to be strongly connected with its creators, the rock band Eagles.

It was therefore not a surprise to hear that the band filed a claim at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Monday, May 1, suggesting that a specific hotel in Todos Santos, Mexico has infringed the mark. The hotel is called ‘Hotel California’.

Since the release of the song in 1977 the band has sold merchandise bearing the mark associating it to its band creating a stronger connection with it.  The band is also waiting the response on a trademark application (serial no. 87/306, 414) of the same mark, filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office. The application was for key chains, guitar picks, posters, t-shirts, sweatshirts, bathrobes, and playing cards.

The Hotel used the same name in the 1950s before the release of the song, however the owners and names had changed over the years and in 2001, Debbie and John Stewart, the new owners of the hotel, according to the band “sought to revitalise the hotel and create a reputation for it, based at least partially on the hotel’s reputed, but false, connection to the Eagles” and thus they used the name ‘Hotel California’ once more. Within the claim the band also mentions that merchandise has been sold with the mark and that the hotel leads falsely costumers to believe that it was the inspiration for the song. As evidence to that several reviews of the hotel exist online and it is made clear that the costumers indeed believe there is a connection with the band and its song.

The band is aiming to get an injunctive relief as well as damages and profit alongside with the attorneys’ fees.

 

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